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Spring Cleaning

Spring Cleaning

, by Web Admin, 7 min reading time

Spring Cleaning In traditional Chinese medicine, Spring is considered a season of dampness. TCM combinations address various Spring issues with complex combinations of herbs that work to regain balance by strengthening digestion, the stomach, spleen/pancreas and by reducing inflammatory discomforts like headaches, joint pain, eye redness, acne, and sinus or tooth allergies. 

We awaken to Spring refreshed after a long Winter nap. In North America we prepare for Spring winds, humidity, rains, allergies and the subtle stirring of our body as we welcome song birds, tiny buds on trees, flowers and longer sunshine days. Though Spring has not yet arrived in most places, we feel the excitement of a new season. 

In traditional Chinese medicine, Spring is considered a season of dampness. In the body that is expressed as water retention, sinus congestion, sinus headache, and sluggish energy after eating. For some it becomes chronic slow digestion, spare tire, obesity and lethargy. The underlying condition of what TCM doctors call dampness is encouraged by a hypothyroid or phlegmy conditions that threaten vitality and delay wound healing. We feel heavy, sluggish, with bloating and indigestion. We may have swollen joints, slow healing or oozing wounds, nausea, jaundice, sinus headaches. Our body is still napping after Winter. 

The heavy feeling, dizziness, and water retention are made worse by eating rich, greasy foods, sugar, and foods that result in blood sugar spikes— sweets, bread, pasta, white rice and processed junk foods. Sodas and chemical sweeteners add to the problems. Also we are sedated by taking long afternoon naps, irregular meals, and sedentary work habits. 

Chinese herbal combinations address various Spring issues with complex combinations of herbs that work to regain balance by strengthening digestion, the stomach, spleen/pancreas and by reducing inflammatory discomforts like headaches, joint pain, eye redness, acne, and sinus or tooth allergies. The herbs are chosen for their tonic, cooling or astringent action, their temperature and chosen to affect the location of the symptoms. 

That is a major difference from Western allopathic medicine which may advise you to take an aspirin or acetaminophen for your headache. The treatment is not specific and results in bad side effects. But TCM, which understands that surface symptoms like pain or redness originate from inside, for example from an under-functioning organ or a problematic blood chemistry. The headache is treated with herbs or acupuncture to address inflammation or energy congestion where it hurts. For example sharp stabbing pain behind the eyes or temples indicates inflammation or poor circulation affecting the liver meridian, the energy pathway that passes through the liver, chest, neck, eyes and head. 

That precision gives us an opportunity to prevent/treat chronic pain and related health issues with diet and herbs. A liver cleansing approach can improve pain under the right ribs, right shoulder, eyes, migraine, as well as improve excess acidity and inflammation affecting nerves, complexion and vision etc. 

Below are a few typical headaches and the types of foods/herbs that may help. Many people who have abused their diet and lifestyle will have these Spring ailments year round. 

  • Note: Chinese liver/gallbladder cleansing herbs are very bitter because they encourage the production and thinning of bile which is laxative. Some bitter herbs like lysimachia treat jaundice and stones. They are highly detoxifying, valuable treatments that can be unpleasant. They are best used with professional supervision, but may be gradually added in small amounts to teas or apple sauce. Herbal pills are convenient and effective. 

  • Strong bitter laxative, diuretic or liver cleansing herbs should be avoided during pregnancy and breast feeding. 

  • Overdose of bitter herbs can result in nausea, diarrhea, chills. For that reason they are often combined with warming digestive herbs such as ginger, atractylodes, or others. 


Liver congestion headache, from poor food combining, drugs or pollution, digestive distress. With Pain in eyes, sides of the head, jaundice, dizziness, weakness, flushed complexion, red eyes, menopausal hot flashes.

  • Huang Lian Shang Qing Wan --helps clear toxic heat - generally used short-term for inflammatory conditions of the face, mouth, head - sore throat, conjunctivitis, acne, swollen gums. Can be a supportive formula for liver fire conditions resulting in headache, tinnitus, dizziness, vertigo.

Food stagnation headache, from rich hard to digest diet, stress and upset with meals. With Dull headache pain, nausea and cramps, pain under right ribs and chest, possible chest tightness and palpitations, gerd 

  • ShuGan Wan has been recommended for liver discomforts, to regulate liver and spleen/stomach interaction, and for emotional balance, including treatment of frustration, pent-up emotions, and liver pain described as “stuck liver Qi.” Stuck circulation and emotions may eventually increase problems such as palpitations or breast fibroids

Sick headache with indigestion, from food allergies, poor habits, chronic stress, With bloating, emotional upset, hiatal hernia, liver pain, food allergies, jaundice, severe headache or PMS

  • Xiao Yao Wan pills Supports core vitality with this classic Chinese herbal formula traditionally used to ease digestive and emotional discomforts, including bloating, gas, rib pain, irregular menstruation, and PMS, depression, and anxiety. It is recommended to correct “stagnant liver qi.” Qi energy keeps us alive and well. When Qi circulation becomes stuck, we may feel pain or our digestive organs may not function to their best capacity: Our ability to maintain adequate energy, blood, and a balanced mood may falter. Xiao Yao Wan has been used for thousands of years for “stagnant liver Qi” to support health and comfort.

Stress and liver inflammation headache, from smoking, poor diet. With feverish feeling, hormonal issues, skin blemishes around the mouth, hypertension, irritability, insomnia. PMS headache, dehydration producing thirst and bad breath

  • Tianqihua Aka Tianqi Flower Tea can lower blood pressure, blood lipids, and help maintain a normal weight.  It has been shown to help prevent cancer, pharyngitis, etc., It promotes body fluids and quenches thirst, refreshes energy, improves oxygen supply capacity which enhances the body's immune function. Take 10 to 13 flowers each time, brew in boiling water. It can be steeped repeatedly many times until there is no bitterness and sweetness. Or use 10 to 20 flowers to steep for 20 minutes and add them to cooking. The taste is sweet; It is cooling in nature. This product is the dried flower of the Araliaceae plant Panax notoginseng. It is used to clear away heat and produce fluids; calms the liver and lowers blood pressure. It is used for chronic thirst; sore throat; dull voice; and hypertension.

Liver Cleansing and Supportive Foods that can improve chronic inflammation, headaches, acne, menstrual regularity and comfort 

  • Bitter greens: kale, dandelion, broccoli, spinach, pea greens, chicory, watercress, asparagus, cucumber, celery, lettuce, bok choy, fennel herb aka anise 

  • Nuts, seeds: flaxseed, chia seeds, pumpkin seed, black cumin seed

  • Cooling cooking spices- cumin, coriander, parsley, mint, dill, turmeric

  • Detoxifying cooking herbs - garlic, onion, shallot, ginger

  • Berries, cherries, pineapple, papaya, apple, watermelon, melons

  • Bitter gourd Balsam Pear tea 

  • Teas: white, jasmine, pu-erh, green, oolong, ginger pu-erh, orange peel, pu-erh, blooming teas 

  • Healthy oils: extra virgin olive oil, walnut oil

With a happy liver, Spring will not seem far away. You may be inspired to begin cleansing, redecorating your home, or starting a new job or project or socializing to meet new people .. Digestive balance brings inner calm, improved sleep and an optimistic future 



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